UD’s basketball team, and its fans, are not unlike the cast of the NBC sitcom, 1600 Penn. Waiting around anxiously, wondering when this whole thing will come to its bitter end. Fear not, Flyer fans, just 10 more games to go. Then the sweet release of death will envelope us all and we can go back to focusing on important things like college football depth charts and lawn care maintenance.
At this point, it’s clear that UD is dead in the water as far as the NCAA tournament is concerned. I understand, as the great Herm Edwards would say, that you play to win the game. However, we are two-thirds of the way through the season and even the most naive of us have abandoned hope. So now what?
There are two schools of thought as to where the Flyers go from here. One says keep the status-quo, start Josh Benson and continue to give Kevin Dillard 30+ minutes per game. The other dictates that Archie open up the competition for playing time, giving Jalen Robinson, Matt Derenbecker and even Devon Scott an opportunity to get their beaks wet. Robinson has shown flashes of brilliance, earning Archie’s trust in the closing minutes of the Xavier game. Derenbecker is a horrid defender, a zero-sum player, but he’s white and that keeps the home crowd happy. Scott is a complete and total mystery. Unless he is throwing haymakers in practice, there’s no reason he should be stapled to the bench.
Archie is in a good position, 10K+ are going to show up at each remaining home game no matter what the rest of the season holds. If UD continues to slide, it’s not like the Flyers will come out to an empty Arena when George Washington comes calling in early March.
So just roll the fucking dice. Unless Archie has a monetary incentive to win twenty games, and if he is smart he does, there’s nothing left to lose.
The Rick is dead, long live The Rick.
Expectations were high for this year’s Billiken squad; they were listed in numerous preseason top 25 lists (including an #11 ranking from Blue Ribbon) and, depending on your source, SLU was picked to finish anywhere from first to fourth in the Atlantic Ten. Saint Louis finished up last season in the NCAA tournament, bowing out in the third round against top-seeded Michigan State. The Billikens return four starters off of last season’s 26 win club and smell blood in the water.
Saint Louis is coming off an impressive dismantling of Butler, improving their record to 15-5 on the season, 4-2 in A16 play. The Billikens challenged themselves with their non-conference slate, coming up short against Kansas and Washington and solidifying double-digit victories over both Texas A&M and New Mexico. Outside of a slip-up at home against Rhode Island, Saint Louis is on pace for a postseason bid.
The Billikens play the same pace and style they’ve employed since joining the conference: slow, steady and efficient. SLU has no interest in offense; they think it’s an affront to decency and American values. The Bills score just 66 points per game, but play lock-down defense, allowing just 58 points a contest – best in the league. They generate a significant amount of points off of turnovers, protect the basketball and get production of their bench.
Meet and Greet
Dwayne Evans has ditched his flat-top but remains the Bills enforcer. Evans, a 6’5” junior, has added a perimeter element to his game and currently scores around eleven points a game, best on the team. He also leads the Bills in rebounding, grabbing 6.5 an outing. Joining Evans in the starting frontcourt is Rob Loe, a seven-footer from New Zealand. Although Loe’s game hasn’t matched his hype upon arrival three years ago, he is still a serviceable big man, scoring 7.3 points per game. The knock against Loe is his over-reliance on the three-point shot – where he is connecting on just 28% of his attempts.
Mike McCall and Kwamain Mitchell are back for more hardcore A10 action. Mitchell, finally a senior, has seen his production dip a bit this season. He is struggling mightily with his shot, hitting 26% of his long-range attempts and shooting 34% from the floor overall. McCall, on the other hand, has improved his stroke greatly. The junior guard is hitting a team-high 46% of his threes and is second on the team in scoring at 10.7 per game.
Jordair Jett and Cory Remekun are two of SLU’s main cogs off the bench. Jett (9.3 ppg) is the team’s best defender and top assistman (3.6 apg). Remekun averages 6.2 points per contest and leads the team in blocks.
Cody Ellis is the Aussie with the blue streaks in his hair. A senior, Ellie remains SLU’s main contributor off the bench. He leads the team in scoring, is the team’s second-leading rebounder and hits around 90% of his free-throw attempts.
Grandy Glaze and Jake Barnett round out the Bills roster. Glaze has started the past three games for SLU and is a solid rebounder for his size. A previous commit to UNLV, he is scoring seven points in A10 play. Barnett is your standard-issue white guy from Wisconsin. A major disappointment after transferring in from Toledo last season, Barnett mostly sniffs around the three-point arc, where he is shooting 31%.
“In this world one must have a name; it prevents confusion, even when it does not establish identity. Some, though, are known by numbers, which also seem inadequate distinctions.”
Coming off a knee-chopping loss at Xavier, the Flyers had to pack up the next day and head to SLU, one of the tougher venues in the conference. I’d be shocked if Archie could get this particular Flyer team up for this one. Saint Louis, 66-59.